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Chilean students protest for education reform

April 12, 2013 at 9:04 AM   |   Comments

SANTIAGO, Chile, April 12 (UPI) -- At least 100,000 students protested for education reform in Chile, calling for access to better education for the country's poor, observers said.

Leaders of the Confederation of Chilean Students, organizers of the march, said as many as 150,000 people crowded the streets of Santiago, holding banners that read "The struggle continues," The Santiago Times reported.

The demonstrations date back to 2011 when schools were first emptied for protests fighting for educational reform, the Argentine newspaper the Buenos Aires Herald reported Thursday.

"There are more than 120,000 people here in Santiago and we have to consider the demonstrations in the rest of the country which show that we can change the reality we are living under, a latent injustice as we continue to be the world's most segregated country in educational terms," said Diego Vela, the head of the Catholic University Student's Federation.

"We are marching because we want free and quality education," Valentina Ibanez, a first-year student at Universidad Alberto Hurtado, told the Times. "Education should be equal for everyone. It should be free. We all have the same rights."

Some protesters clashed with police, the BBC reported. Police fired tear gas and used a water cannon to break up the march. Eight officers were injured and 109 protesters were arrested, officials said.

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